Expert Interview: Sometimes Love Just Isn't Enough


This week GAG had the honor of interviewing Caren Field an individual/couples counselor from Traverse City, Michigan who shares her wealth of relationship knowledge with GAG users in her free time.

Caren has more than 15 years of studying human behavior, coaching and counseling under her belt. In her private practice, The Path to Partnership, she deals with an array of issues that range from resolving simple relationship issues to helping couples effectively communicate with one another.

In her interview we discussed the goal of her private practice, why couples typically go to counseling, the "ONE" and relationship tips for you (the GAG Community!).

Expert Interview: Sometimes Love Just Isn't EnoughCaren Field

1. What is the goal your private practice, Path to Partnership?

Caren Field: My goal is for people to heal their relationships. When the relationships are healed, there are no more hurt feelings and no more resentments and people are free to love each other again. Whether a couple ends up together or not is irrelevant to that outcome.


2. Can your type of counseling be helpful for someone who has trouble being in relationships?

CF: Yes. People have difficulty being in relationships with others because they have difficulties in their relationship with themselves. That's where it all starts.


3. Are there any tips you can give to singles that are looking for the one?

CF: I think it's important to dispel the belief that there is only the ONE. Think about it this way, when you go to the pound to pick out a dog, which dog is the dog you fall in love with? The answer: which ever one you bring home.


4. When do couples typically come go to you (or other counselors) for help?

CF: I have heard the statistic thrown around that it's “6 years too late.” I don't know if that's true or not, but what I have seen is that people usually wait until the breaking point before they ask for help. Unfortunately, that's often too late. I like to think of counseling like car maintenance. People take their cars in for annual check ups, and get their oil changed every 6 months, why not treat your relationships, and yourself, the same way? Just check-in every once in a while to make sure you're on the right path.


5. Does couples counseling work for every couple?

CF: No. I could say the same for any counseling, both individual or couples: it only works when the client is willing to let go of hurting.


6. What do you think is the biggest issue couples have in most relationships?

CF: Poor communication. People don't listen so that makes it hard right off the bat. Added to that, men and women have different brains that cause us to communicate differently, and by not understanding this gender gap, we create more misunderstanding, disappointment, and hurt feelings. Then, we don't tell each other that we've been hurt in a way that works, so that causes more distance and less connection. It just keeps getting worse.


7. What's the key to creating a healthy long lasting relationship/marriage?

CF: Being willing to support your partner in getting their needs met, and being with a partner who is willing to support you in getting your needs met. To do that you have to keep the lines of communication wide open. If you can do that, you should be good.


8. What are some telltale signs of a toxic relationship? Are there ways to improve that relationship or is it a lost cause?

CF: If you spend more than about 5% of the time in what I call survival mode – that is with any tension or stress in your body or mind – about your partner or about your relationship, that's toxic. That stress chemical cocktail that you're stewing in is terrible for your mental and your physical health. Sadly, sometimes two people are just not a good match, and sometimes love just isn't enough. Everybody is better off being with someone who makes them feel safe, and who keeps them calm. This allows you to be your best self, instead of a stress ball.


9. Carrie Bradshaw said “Don't forget to fall in love with yourself first.” Do you agree? Do you think people need to fall in love with themselves in order for someone else to fall in love with them?

CF: As soon as someone's relationship with themselves is out, they will insist their partner needs counseling! That's how it goes when we don't have a healthy and loving relationship with ourselves. When we don't understand where we start and where we end, what us and what's not us, if anyone else gets into the mix, the lines end up getting blurry. Then, we start blaming, complaining, and taking things personally that aren't. That's a recipe for disaster.


10. Lastly, what is one tip (about dating, relationships, love or marriage) you want give the GAG community?

CF: Get your past cleaned up so it won't contaminate your present or your future. Heal your past wounds. We are like hoarders with our injuries. We stockpile our injuries, hurts, and offenses. We don't even notice how much trash we have collected, or how much it smells, because we are so used to living in the garbage. Cleaning them all up liberates you and makes love and happiness possible.



It's very fitting that Caren's interview is being published today, because today marks 10-months since she joined GAG as an expert. Thank you for all the great advice you’ve given the community thus far, Caren! We hope to have you around for many more months! :)

If you have any relationship/dating questions for Caren leave them in the comments. For more on her check out her GAG profile or visit her webiste, PathtoPartnership.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Now we can't argue with her. She is an expert!

    So she claims to know that men and women think differently and can never understand each other (compares humans to dogs)? That's a contradiction. The very fact that she asserts that would mean she would have to know how both think to know that. And sorry but no matter how much this woman calls herself an "expert" she will never know what goes on inside a male brain just by observing men.

    You will find in this world many things determine how people act. If a man was given a little weak body he would act far different than if he was given a large football players body.

    A lot of the differences in men and women could easily be down to their situation. I doubt a man who suddenly had a woman's body would act the same still.

    This self proclaimed expert woman can keep making her GAG articles. She is a pseudo scientist. Seems her ideas come from confirmation bias of her own experiences and observations.

    Pretty scary people like this get to post and dictate what people can understand and feel and what your problems are and she knows how you think. lol. Fail.

    Sadly some on here eat it up.

    Also she takes part in logical fallacies "If you don't love yourself you can't love someone else" What a load of BS. That's as bad as "If you don't like yourself no one else will like you". Do people even think about this of do they just read something and decide it makes sense and is true since it sounds like a saying. lol

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    • @Drenivian whether she is an expert or not she is closer to the truth than you. A) she didn't compare humans to dogs, you have an invalid argument to begin with. Please read what she really said. B) you right, she would never know about a male brain, as much as you wouldn't know a female brain. But she had 15 years of observing and counselling. Counselling being that term you missed and then asserted your point of view therefore creating another false argument. Anyway, I would take 15 years of observing a male in relationships over whatever you have to offer. C) you clearly imply that environmental factors only make people think differently. So you, over every psychological theory from all the scientists who state that genetics and hormones play a part; are correct. Crap. And let's get real, guys think differently from girls... man that's the common denominator in all scientific literature as well as mags, pick up books, relationship guides etc. seriously!!!

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    • @drenivian how is she SELF proclaiming she's an expert? I think the people at GAG have called her that. Plus she IS an expert. This is what she does for a living. she's not DICTATING anything, she's sharing her point of view, because they asked her to! And the quote you quoted, she never said. I don't think you read very well.

    • @scrambled you rock!

Most Helpful Girl

  • I have a GREAT relationship with myself :) No seriously, it's cliche but you can't really love someone else until you love yourself first. Nice interview...

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What Guys Said 9

  • People need to let go of the childlike notion finding love, is finding someone to be responsible for your happiness, instead of taking responsibility for your own happiness.

    Finding love or finding the one is not going to make you happy.

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  • im Steve. 23male that really likes this 22 yr old cute chick that i think is perfect. i had her last semester for class and have her again this semester. Asked her out and she said she had a bf. But hesitated and said she's down. i started off going to her house to do homework and study together. I would sit and flirt with her. We would go to the bar every now and then while she was with her boyfriend. Then she broke up about 2weeks ago because he’s moving and wants to do long distance relationship. I studied late and knocked out at her house in her bed and we cuddled. Smoked weed. Next night was her birthday and I slept over again but she knocked out asap. I carried her ti bed. I think I missed my move :/ lastnight she said that she's gnna try doing the long distance thing. That she didn’t know how to bring it up. and if we are friends. In the morning I replied “oh well goodluck and said sure we can be friends.” She asked today if I want to come over to smoke. I said “Idkkkk. I have a bit to do today and it’s my friends birthday and she (another girl) wanted me to celebrate. I don’t want to be dick” She said “no worries”……i sit next to her in class everydaytoo.. what to do? I really like this girl

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    • Tell her you really like her. Otherwise, she might form her own opinion about how you feel about her, and it's likely she will get it wrong.

  • "People have difficulty being in relationships with others because they have difficulties in their relationship with themselves."

    This is good.

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  • I completely agree. My mom always said if you wanna make a relationship work you have to communicate with each other. Its worked so far.

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  • Hmm
    Admits she isn't good at her job in the first question, compares people to dogs, and keeps talking about "hurting" while I'm sure this bitch never felt hurt once in her life.

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    • Thaaaats kinda fucked up bro, its impossible to not feel pain at some point in your life. Just because she's positive doesn't mean she hasn't had horrible experiences, I mean shit I was molested for eight months by a family friend when I was four years old before my mom finally found out and put that person in prison, but I act happy as fuck so no one knows. Everyone gets hurt in life. No one can escape the shit storm that life drags us through.
      Also, she didn't say she was bad at her job, she said that some couples just don't stay together in the end. Couples Counseling isn't always about staying together, its about healing the relationship. Just because a relationship is healed doesn't mean they stay together, it just means that there is no more hurt between them and far more understanding on both ends.
      Sorry for such a long reply, I just thought it needed to be said.

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    • @rocelot
      To be straight up dude you're the one sounding a little pompous. But its all good I get it, people say nasty stuff when they are feeling attacked. Honestly the only reason why I feel comfortable talking about all my shit on this site is because it is 100% anonymous, no one could ever know that this is me typing. So I could type all day long about my past because its easier to disconnect from it compared to talking about it all with my therapist for example. I do believe that putting personal experiences online do help an argument because it helps the receiver gain some kind of idea of where the opponent is coming from. Other than that I don't really have much else to say dude, other than this is just an advice article, not a freaking bible she's trying to make people live by. I'm agreeing with her statements based on my knowledge from all my psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology classes, and just plain old experience. So, chill out a little dude its no big deal :D

    • @rocelot
      She's not comparing people to dogs, she's talking about how people love. I think you don't read well. And maybe you're doing the crazy math on what she wrote - see her latest myTake about that. On second thought, don't. You'll probably just write hateful comments on that too. I think you are just mean for the sake of being mean.

      @kilraven
      Nice job being a man and stepping up to defend the lady - you are a hero!

  • Yeah sometimes love isn't enough because sometimes you just want to pick up a bar slut and choke fuck her and cum all over her face. You can't do that to a girl you love.

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  • Point #3 is the best point I have ever listened from her tongue.

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  • Very interesting I Especially agree with the answer about what makes toxic. It's all helpful to learn thank you

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  • Yes sometimes love is'nt enough you need a big huge dick too. hahaha...

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What Girls Said 11

  • Thank you @gagtake for this interview. It's good we have people on this site willing to take the time to share their expertise with us. I think her advice has been spot on and I really like her down to earth attitude and its clear she cares about people by doing what she does. @caren-field you make me want to become a counselor and learn how to help people heal relationships!

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  • i totally agree with everything she said. i just broke up with my boyfriend and we went through so many arguments because of silly things... i think that we could have a bright future... but he choosed to give up on us.

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    • Ditto. It sucks when you can see the potential :-( but you can't make it happen on your own. Sometimes one person isn;t mature enough to even try and make it work. Take care of yourself tho!! It gets easier, I promsie :-)

  • Great interview, I love the answer to #3. It made me laugh because its so true!

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  • I really want to know your view about long distance relationship.
    I really love him, we always call and text everyday, asking each other routine and saying i love you before sleep. I think he's the one whom my heart feel like home the most, but because he's far away, I kept holding on my feeling towards him, try to not let it to be more than 60%... which is I know it's impossible... i do really love him... and I knew it's really hurt and hard, missing him so bad. that's why I kept holding on my feeling to him, so that I can live my life happily without too focusing to my heart that missing him like hell.

    Really need your view about this.. thanks!

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    • One of the biggest problems with long distance relationships is that neither our need for affection nor our need for quality time together can be met by our partner. This creates a longing that many of us mistake for love. I'm not saying you don't love him, but that the feeling of missing him like hell is not love. It is a sign that you have a need that is going unmet.

    • I completely agree with you Caren, becoz my heart feel empty.. and it's hurt
      it's still incomplete..

  • This is common sense. Glad that expert can agree with common sense.

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    • Not that common dude. Too bad there aren't more experts who are as smart as her.

  • I've been in a relationship now for 16yrs, definitely had our ups n downs n breakups.. I've been cheated on lied to and somehow we made it through it all. we have 2 kids and I still feel jealous at times and insecure, but I feel I chose to stay and now I deal with it.. I feel alone, I feel he doesn't respect me.. he will tell me otherwise but I know what I see and feel, I just wish he would see it.. not saying this happens everyday but now n then I feel it and when I do and I tell him about it well then I'm the crazy one.. lol.. I need to give him a taste of his own medicine, let him feel how it is one the other end.. maybe then he wouldn't make me feel this way, it's a choice he makes and I feel he don't even care if my feelings will be hurt.. when he's so controlling.. I don't know..

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    • I'm sorry you feel disrespected at times. Have you considered that you both might have different definitions of what it means to be respected?

  • I need to love myself more

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  • sometimes i think i can't find the right guy for me why is that?

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    • It's a numbers game... if you keep looking, you'll find someone who's right for you.

  • Even when I know what the most important things in my life should be, I tend to de-prioritize them and hurl myself into escapism, whether distracting myself with fiction or responding to people who matter least in my life vs. my SO.
    When my SO asks me if I was able to do the thing he asked, I tend to give excuses to save myself from his hurt and anger. And I hate seeing him upset because I know that I should be better to him.

    I have self-sabotage behaviour. I fear success because it means more expectations and responsibility, even though it's for my own good.

    I want to help myself. How can I?

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    • Self-sabotage can be a function of not wanting to be happy. Have you done something that makes you believe you don't deserve to be happy?

    • No.. I can't seem to pinpoint any instance that would make me think that. I did go through a period of pessimism and paranoia during my teens when I felt people talked to me only out of pity. It was irrational and stemmed from my own insecurities.

      When I engage in escapism, I tend to find ways of how to become a victim than take the responsibility of the perpetrator. Now I'm more aware of when I tend to think that, so sometimes I stop myself, but which then leads to inaction.

      It feels more like I'm engaged with self-sabotage through emotional masochism. I prefer to engage with other's narratives than my own.

  • In your practice, how easy is it to determine if a couple is going to make it or not?

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    • It's not always easy. Whether they make it or not depends on their willingness to heal and to forgive and to do what's necessary to make the relationship work for both. I have seen couples who aren't willing, but they stay together despite the fact that both of them are unhappy. I wouldn't call that making it.

  • Love is hard work

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